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Format #2 - The Big 6 Information Literacy

Early Childhood Research and Report

The Big 6 format for integrating curriculum teaches students to identify areas of interest, learn information-seeking strategies, and develop skills in organizing and sharing information with others. Topics for investigation can be developed in any content area. As students work through the Big 6 process, reading, writing, collecting data, graphing, drawing, making models, and creating content vocabulary are strengthened. Early childhood teachers will find it helpful to model the process with whole class investigations prior to giving individual Big 6 assignments.

The Big 6 Problem Solving Process is a systematic approach for helping young children problem solve and research information on subjects about which they would like to learn more. This process promotes high standards for projects and clear communication of ideas. Familiar strategies for student research, such as the Project Approach, can easily be adapted to this format. The framework for problem solving skills is laid during the early childhood years.


Step 1. Task Definition: About what do I want to learn more?

Step 2. Information Seeking Strategies: Which resources can I use?

Step 3. Location and Access: Where can I find these resources?


Step 4. Use of Information: What can I use from these resources?

Step 5. Synthesis: How can I share what I learned?

Review: Step 6. Evaluation: How will I know I did my job well?

Plan: Integrated long-term studies are a wonderful way to motivate student learning. Throughout the year, teachers will guide students through several investigations and projects with specific student-generated questions in mind.

Step 1: Ask about what else we want to learn.

  • Children generate a list of questions that are interesting to them.

Step 2: Ask which resources can we use.

  • Children and teacher identify a wide range of resources (e.g., informational books, periodicals, audio-visual aids, reference encyclopedias, atlases, dictionaries, charts, maps, globes, pictures, timelines, pamphlets, handbooks, resources).
  • Identify people who are possible information resources (e.g., family members, teachers, librarians).
  • Identify community resources (e.g., libraries, museums, universities, zoos).

Step 3: Ask where the resources can be found.

  • Select resources that are age-appropriate, understandable, and current.

Do: The teacher provides continual guidance as she walks students through the process of investigating a topic. Students will locate the school media center, pictures, and informational books. They will learn to find books by author’s last name and book spine information. The students will combine their efforts to collect resource books, measuring tools, magnifiers, microscopes, balance scales, and a variety of other tools and helpful resources. The teacher will supervise and teach children to explore the books, tools, and equipment used to investigate. The teacher may also set up activities in which children can conduct surveys and make graphs regarding personal interests (e.g., interviewing, collecting data, going through books, studying maps and charts).

Step 4: Students will recall previous knowledge of subject and build on that knowledge base.

  • Students will use the questions they generated to guide their information gathering.
  • Which information should I use? How should I organize the information?
  • Teachers will provide opportunities for children to engage in collaborative work activities such as selecting, designing, and carrying out projects using a variety of media, and will allow time for children to explore a topic in depth.

Step 5: How should I share what I learned?

  • With the teacher’s help, students will select a product format that fits their topic (e.g., storyboard, pictures, oral report, graphs).

Review: Students review the information gathered.

Big 6 Planning Forms

Grade Level Topics for Investigation

Concepts First Grade Suggested Topics for Investigation
Me Care of the body
Safety rules and hazards
Benefits of fitness
Initiating and maintaining friendships
Belonging to groups (family, class, friends)
Creative expression, role play, art, music, dramatized stories, cultural songs
Weather Daily weather, weather station
Changes in living things, seasons, plants, trees, leaves, seeds, flowers, fruits, vegetables
Five Senses Sense-enhancing tools
Colors, light, shadows, mirrors, textures, cooking, musical instruments
Animals Comparison of living things based on characteristics
Adult and baby animals
Furry animals, birds, reptiles
Farm animals, zoo animals, pets
Animal coverings, movement, homes
Community Patriotism (flags, symbols, anthems, pledge)
Types of jobs seen in community
People and events of commemorative holidays
Maps, representations of land, water, roads, cities
Shape of Utah and USA

Concepts First Grade Suggested Topics for Investigation
Me Choices, consequences, problem solving, conflict resolution
Fitness, cleanliness, nutrition
Helpful and harmful substances
Safety rules and hazards
Creative expression, describing ideas orally and in writing
How family members support each other
Choices and consequences that affect self and family
Household tasks past, present, future
Community Unique attributes, art
Mapping, map symbols, locations
Physical features surrounding home, school, and community
Changes over time in school and neighborhood
Changes in technology in home, school, and community
National symbols, patriotic traditions, historical figures
Plants Plant parts
Seeds, leaves, flowers
Classification system (simple—such as number of leaves, shape of leaves, veins in leaves, etc.)
Motion Balls, cars, ramps, and spinners
Direction of movement, measuring movement
Water Liquid, solid, gas
Float and sink, boats
Temperature effects on water
Characteristics of water
Effects of water on plants, animals, and people

Concepts First Grade Suggested Topics for Investigation
Me Unique attributes
Fitness, safety
Harmful effects of tobacco
Cleanliness, communicable and non-communicable diseases
Movement sequences of games, dances
Healthy relationships, cooperation, sharing, conflict resolution
Family changes over time
Creative expression—responding to the ideas of others
Weather Graphing, seasonal patterns, seasonal changes in plants and animals
Rocks Uses of rocks, rocks in community, classifying rocks by color, texture
Community Compare rural, suburban, and urban
Local community culture, art, literature, language, music
Globe, map symbols (colors, patterns, object lines, legends, compass, scale)
Changes over time (e.g., cultures, homes, businesses, size, traditions)
Goods and services
Promoting public good, service learning
Life Spans & Cycles Seasons
Plant life cycles
Two-part cycles (life and death)
Amphibian life cycles
Advanced insect life cycles